Lt 55, 1886

1886

Lt 55, 1886

Butler, G. I.; Haskell, S. N.

Basel, Switzerland

December 8, 1886

This letter is published in entirety in 12MR 318-328.

Dear Brethren Butler and Haskell:

For weeks I have not been able to sleep after half-past three o’clock. My mind is deeply exercised in regard to our condition as a people. We ought to be far in advance of any other people on the earth because we have greater light and greater knowledge of the truth, which lays us under increased accountability to advance that light, and not only [to] profess to believe the truth, but to practice it. When we do practice the truth, we are then following Jesus, who is the light of the world; and if we as a people are not constantly elevating, becoming more and more spiritually minded, we are becoming like the Pharisees—self-righteous—while we do not the will of God. Lt55-1886.1

We must have a greater nearness to God. Much less of self and much more of Jesus Christ and His grace must be brought into our everyday life. We are living in an important period of this world’s history. The end of all things is at hand; the sands of time are fast running out; soon in heaven it will be said: “It is done.” “He that is holy, let him be holy still,” “he which is filthy, let him be filthy still” [Revelation 21:6; 22:11]. Lt55-1886.2

Let our testimonies be sharpened up; let us have a firmer hold on God. I cannot refrain from prayer at one, two, and three o’clock in the morning for the Lord to work upon the hearts of the people. I think of all heaven’s being interested in the work that is going on upon the earth. Ministering angels are waiting about the throne to instantly obey the mandate of Jesus Christ to answer every prayer offered in earnest, living faith. I think of how many who profess the truth are keeping it apart from their lives. They do not bring its sanctifying, refining, spiritualizing power into their hearts. I think how this grieves Jesus. Lt55-1886.3

I think of His great sorrow as He wept over Jerusalem, exclaiming, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not” [Luke 13:34]! God forbid that these words shall apply to those who have great light and blessings. In the rejecting of Jerusalem, it was because great privileges were abused which brought the denunciation upon all who lightly regarded the great opportunities and precious light that were entrusted to their keeping. Privileges do not commend us to God, but they commend God to us. No people are saved because they have great light and special advantages, for these high and heavenly favors only increase their responsibility. Lt55-1886.4

The more and increased light God has given makes the receiver more responsible. It does not place the receiver in any safer position unless the privileges are wisely improved, prized, and used to advance God’s glory. Christ said, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” [Matthew 11:21]. Lt55-1886.5

When Jerusalem was divorced from God it was because of her sins. She fell from an exalted height that Tyre and Sidon had never reached. And when an angel falls he becomes a fiend. The depth of our ruin is measured by the exalted light to which God has raised us in His great goodness and unspeakable mercy. Oh, what privileges are granted to us as a people! And if God spared not His people that He loved because they refused to walk in the light, how can He spare the people whom He has blessed with the light of heaven in having opened to them the most exalted truth ever intrusted to mortal man to give to the world? Lt55-1886.6

We are far from being the people God would have us to be, because we do not elevate the soul and refine the character in harmony with the wonderful unfolding of God’s truth and His purposes. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]. Sin is a disorganizer. Wherever it is cherished—in the individual heart, in the household, in the church—there is disorder, strife, variance, enmity, envy, jealousy, because the enemy of man and of God has the controlling power over the mind. But let the truth be loved and brought into the life, as well as advocated, and that man or woman will hate sin and will be a living representative of Jesus Christ to the world. Lt55-1886.7

The people claiming to believe the truth will not be condemned because they had not the light, but because they had great light and did not bring their hearts to the test of God’s great moral standard of righteousness. The people who claim to believe the truth must be elevated by living it out. Real Bible religion must leaven the life, refine and ennoble the character, making it more and more like the divine model. Then will the home be vocal with prayer, with thanksgiving and praise to God. Angels will minister in the home and accompany the worshiper to the house of prayer. Lt55-1886.8

Let the churches who claim to believe the truth, who are advocating the law of God, keep that law and depart from all iniquity. Let the individual members of the church resist the temptations to practice evils and indulge in sin. Let the church commence the work of purification before God by repentance, humiliation, deep heartsearching, for we are in the antitypical day of atonement—solemn hour fraught with eternal results. Lt55-1886.9

Let those who teach the truth present it as it is in Jesus. Under the subduing, sanctifying, refining influence of the truth of God, they are as clean vessels. Let them be leavened with Bible religion, and what an influence would go forth from them to the world! Let the individual members of the church be pure, steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the love of Jesus, and they will then be a light to the world. Let the men standing as watchmen and as shepherds of the flock proclaim the solemn truth, sound the notes of warning to all people, nations and tongues. Let them be living representatives of the truth they advocate, and honor God’s law by strict and holy compliance with its requirements, walking before the Lord in purity, in holiness, and a power will attend the proclamation of the truth that will reflect light everywhere. Lt55-1886.10

God never forsakes people or individuals until they forsake Him. Outward opposition will not cause the faith of God’s people, who are keeping His commandments, to become dim. The neglect to bring purity and truth into practice will grieve the Spirit of God and weaken them because God is not in their midst to bless. Internal corruption will bring the denunciations of God upon this people as it did upon Jerusalem. Oh, let pleading voices, let earnest prayer be heard, that those who preach to others shall not themselves be castaways. My brethren, we know not what is before us, and our only safety is in following the Light of the world. God will work with us and for us if the sins which brought His wrath upon the old world, upon Sodom and Gomorrah and upon ancient Jerusalem, do not become our crime. Lt55-1886.11

The least transgression of God’s law brings guilt upon the transgressor, and without earnest repentance and forsaking of sin he will surely become an apostate. You inquire in regard to the course which should be pursued to secure the rights of our people to worship according to the dictates of our own conscience. This has been a burden on my soul for some time, whether it would be a denial of our faith and an evidence that our trust was not fully in God. But I call to mind many things God has shown me in the past, in regard to things of a similar character, as the draft and other things. I can speak in the fear of God it is right we should use every power we can to avert the pressure that is being brought to bear upon our people. I know that were our people spiritualized by the truth, the greatest love would be maintained. Lt55-1886.12

[We are] not to provoke those who have accepted this spurious Sabbath, an institution of the Papacy, in the place of God’s holy Sabbath. Their not having the Bible arguments in their favor makes them all the more angry and determined to supply the place of arguments that are wanting in the Word of God by the power of their might. The force of persecution follows the steps of the dragon. Therefore great care should be exercised to give no provocation. And again, let us as a people, as far as possible, cleanse the camp of moral defilement and aggravating sins. When sin is making its march upon the people who claim to be elevating the moral standard of righteousness, how can we expect God to turn His power in our behalf and save us as a people that did righteousness? Lt55-1886.13

All the policy in the world cannot save us from a terrible sifting, and all the efforts made with high authorities will not lift from us the scourging of God just because sin is cherished. If as a people we do not keep ourselves in the faith and not only advocate with pen and voice the commandments of God, but keep them every one, not violating a single precept knowingly, then weakness and ruin will come upon us. It is a work that we must attend to in every one of our churches. Each man must be a Christian. Lt55-1886.14

Let the sin of pride be put away, let all superfluities of dress be overcome, and repentance toward God be exercised for the highhanded robbery toward Him which has withheld money which should flow into the treasury to sustain the work of God in its mission fields. Let the work of reformation, of true conversion, be set before and urged upon the people. Let our works, our deportment, correspond with the work for this time, that we may say, Follow me as I follow Christ. Let us humble our souls before God by humiliation, fasting and prayer, repentance of sin, and putting it away. Lt55-1886.15

The voice of the true watchman needs now to be heard all along the line, “The morning cometh, and also the night” [Isaiah 21:12]. The trumpet must give a certain sound, for we are in the great day of the Lord’s preparation. All the struggles to carry our appeals to the highest authorities in our land, however earnest and strong and eloquent may be the pleas in our favor, will not bring about that which we desire, unless the Lord works by His Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who claim to believe the truth. We may struggle as a mighty man in swimming against the current of Niagara, but we shall fail unless the Lord pleads in our behalf. God will be honored among His people. They must be pure, they must be divested of self, steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. The Lord will elevate the humblest soul that trusts in Him. He will unite His power with human effort, if that man will honor Him as did Daniel. But as a people we need the beauty of righteousness, holiness, and truth. The most harmonious theory will not save us. The God that ruled in Babylon is the same God that rules now. There are many doctrines current in our world. There is many a religion current that numbers its thousands and tens of thousands, but there is but one that bears the superscription and the stamp of God. There is a religion of man and a religion of God. We must have our souls riveted to the eternal Rock. Everything in God’s world, both men and doctrines and nature itself, is fulfilling God’s sure word of prophecy and accomplishing His grand and closing work in this world’s history. Lt55-1886.16

We are to be ready and waiting for the orders of God. Nations will be stirred to their very center. Support will be withdrawn from those who proclaim God’s only standard of righteousness, the only sure test of character. And all who will not bow to the decree of the national councils, and obey the national laws to exalt the Sabbath instituted by the man of sin to the disregard of God’s holy day, will feel, not the oppressive power of Popery alone, but of the Protestant world, the image of the beast. Lt55-1886.17

Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ. Lt55-1886.18

The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy. All these, He says, “I have graven ... upon the palms of My hands” [Isaiah 49:16]. They are held in everlasting, imperishable remembrance. We want faith now, living faith. We want to have a living testimony that shall cut to the heart of the sinner. There is too much sermonizing and too little ministering. We want the holy unction. We need the spirit and fervor of the truth. Many of the ministers are half paralyzed by their own defects of character. They need the converting power of God. Lt55-1886.19

That which God required of Adam before his fall was perfect obedience to His law. God requires now what He required of Adam, perfect obedience, righteousness without a flaw, without shortcoming in His sight. God help us to render to Him all His law requires. We cannot do this without that faith that brings Christ’s righteousness into daily practice. Dear brethren, the Lord is coming. Lift up your thoughts and heads and rejoice. Oh, we would think that those who hear the joyful news, who claim to love Jesus, would be filled with joy unutterable and full of glory. This is the good, the joyful news which should electrify every soul, which should be repeated in our homes, and told to those whom we meet on the street. What more joyful news can be communicated! Cavilling and contention with believers or unbelievers is not the work God has given us to do. Lt55-1886.20

If Christ is my Saviour, my sacrifice, my atonement, then I shall never perish. Believing on Him, I have life for evermore. Oh, that all who believe the truth would believe in Jesus as their own Saviour. I do not mean that cheap faith unsupported by works, but that earnest, living, constant, abiding faith, that eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of God. I want not only to be pardoned for the transgression of God’s holy law, but I want to be lifted into the sunshine of God’s countenance. Not simply to be admitted to heaven, but to have an abundant entrance. Lt55-1886.21

Are we so insensible as a peculiar people, a holy nation, to the inexpressible love that God has manifested for us? Salvation is not to be baptized, not to have our names upon the church books, not to preach the truth. But it is a living union with Jesus Christ, to be renewed in heart, doing the works of Christ in faith and labor of love, in patience, meekness, and hope. Every soul united to Christ will be a living missionary to all around him. He will labor for those near and those afar off. He will have no sectional feeling, no interest merely to build up one branch of the work over which he presides, and there let his zeal end. All will work with interest to make every branch strong. There will be no self-love, no selfish interest. The cause is one, the truth a great whole. Lt55-1886.22

Well may the question be asked with earnest, anxious heart, Is envy cherished, is jealousy permitted to find a place in my heart? If so, Christ is not there. Do I love the law of God, is the love of Jesus Christ in my heart? If we love one another as Christ has loved us, then we are getting ready for the blessed heaven of peace and rest. There is no struggling there to be first, to have the supremacy; all will love their neighbor as themselves. Oh, that God would open the understanding and speak to the hearts of our churches by arousing the individual members. Lt55-1886.23

The Lord appoints and sends forth ministers not only to preach, for this is a small part of His work, but to minister; to educate the people not to be fighters, but to be examples of piety. There are workers in every department appointed to do their work. When Jesus ascended on high He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. Some have entered the work with a human commission rather than the divine. They have educated themselves as debaters, and the churches under their care show the character of their work. They were not ready, they were not fitted for the work. Their hearts are not right with God. In short, they have a theory, but not true conversion and sanctification through the truth. The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed, and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain. Lt55-1886.24

Our prayer should ascend to the throne of grace with fervor for the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His vineyard. My heart aches as I look around upon the mission fields and see so feeble efforts to get the truth before the people. No censure can be attached to our leading men. I believe, brethren, you are one with me in heart, in sentiment, in regard to our great need, and in the earnest desire and earnest efforts to meet the mind of the Spirit of God in these things. Lt55-1886.25

Those who are at ease in Zion need to be aroused. Great is their accountability who bear the truth and yet feel no weight or burden for souls. Oh, for men and women professing the truth to arouse, to take on the yoke of Christ, to lift His burdens. There are wanted those who will not have merely a nominal interest, but a Christlike interest, unselfish—an intense ardor that will not flag under difficulties or cool because iniquity abounds. Lt55-1886.26

I want to speak to the ears of our people in America in every church. Awake from the dead, and Christ will give you life. Souls are perishing for the light of truth as it is in Jesus. We are standing upon the very borders of the eternal world. Fair-weather Christians will not be wanted for this work. The sentimental and tasteful religion is not needed for this time. There must be intensity brought into our faith and in the proclamation of truth. I tell you, a new life is proceeding from satanic agencies to work with a power we have not hitherto realized. And shall not a new power from above take possession of God’s people? The truth, sanctifying in its influence, must be urged upon the people. There must be earnest supplications offered to God, agonizing prayer to Him, that our hopes as a people may not be founded on suppositions, but on eternal realities. We must know for ourselves, by the evidence of God’s Word, whether we are in the faith, going to heaven or not. The moral standard of character is God’s law. Do we meet its requirements? Are the Lord’s people bringing their property, their time, their talents, and all their influence into the work for this time? Let us arouse. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” [Colossians 3:1]. Lt55-1886.27